Riot Fest 2022 Day One sees My Chemical Romances triumphant return to Chicago (Show Review)

Riot Fest graced its home town again for another year and despite all the drama surrounding it (due to the park the event is held at) day 1 of the fest saw its biggest attendance ever for the return of emo legends My Chemical Romance.


Kicking off the day was UK alt rockers Pale Waves who kicked the festival off with some singing and dancing while front woman Heather Baron-Gracie commanded the stage. Quickly following them was a sight to see with a corn dog circle pit as Chicagos own Sincere Engineer graced the main stage for a set of punk rock tunes. With an ever growing fast fan base the band had sing alongs and the first pits and crowd surfers of the weekend.

Making their live debut though was one very talked about act features a whose who of metalcore and emo members, LS Dunes. Featuring guitarist Frank Iero (My Chemical Romance), guitarist Travis Stever (Coheed & Cambria), vocalist Anthony Green (Circa Survive), bassist Tim Payne (Thursday), and drummer Tucker Rule (Thursday) the band with only one single out at the time of playing drew a large and very energetic crowd. Green, clearly enjoying this new band, ran around the stage and into the crowd with his usual ferocity. Iero was visibly happy as was the rest of the band as well. If this set was any indication this band could be a major force to come in the genre.


The biggest surprise possibly for me the weekend was Foxy Shazam. Knowing nothing of them I was treating to a mix of Queen meets glam rock meets stadium rock and everything in between. They commanded the crowd from the second they entered with one of the most energetic sets of the weekend. With a large band constantly moving including their keyboardist taking his keyboard into the crowd, even unaware of the music being played they made me an instant fan.

Thankfully day one also brought the legendary punk bands in the form of Lagwagon, Descendents and Rocket From The Crypt. Descendents put most bands to shame with their fast set of hits and energy that you’d never expect from a band thats been at it this long. The crowd was clearly die hard fans too and it was great to see the band return to the fest. Rocket From The Crypt treated the crowd to a special set as well doing their “Group Sounds” album in full.


The Wonder Years played a set heavier on songs from their latest album “The Hum Goes On Forever” which was coming out shortly after the fest ended. While lighter on older songs the large crowd sang every word they knew for it while Soupy worked the crowd in a way only he can.


Chicagos own Alkaline Trio were close to ending the night with a setlist that worked their entire career. With a huge crowd its easy to see why Trio are looked at as punk gods in their hometown. The 3 piece band played with each other and the crowd through a set that most wish would have never ended. As a band thats becoming a staple to the festival they are welcome back every year.

Ending the night was My Chemical Romances return to Chicago. Now I’ll address the bigger issues, it was crazy packed for them, which caused a lot of issues. The band had to keep stopping after every song to get the crowd to stop pushing forward even making the band walk off stage at one point. They handled the safety very well even if the crowd was booing them at one point trying to make everything better. It did make the set have a damper to it and caused pacing issues. Aside from that though the band sounded great. Playing a mix of songs from their career and opening with their newest one, fans were crying along to every word for a band that has meant a lot to them.


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